The Walking Dead games from TellTale Games may have you thinking that adapting popular television dramas for video game format is not that unique an idea at all.
But when Grey’s Anatomy: The Video Game was released back in 2009, this was an odd proposition.
Never underestimate a game development team’s capacity for creativity nor a company’s boundless enthusiasm for cashing in on a hot product. Especially if that hot product is never-ending drama set in an hospital involving beautiful people who are mildly compelling as characters. You may not consider American Broadcasting Corporation’s hit American medical drama series Grey’s Anatomy as the most marketable fodder for a video game but the team at developer Longtail Studios undertook the unconventional and publisher Ubisoft ported the results to the PC, Nintendo Wii, and Nintendo DS.
What exactly would a video game about Grey’s Anatomy play like? Well, for starters, if you’re not familiar with the characters and setting of the drama serial, then you might want to brush up on your McDreamy and McSteamy.
Before its release, Grey’s Anatomy: The Video Game received wide press from ABC but was critically panned as shallow and uninspired upon release. Currently the game has a 36 Metacritic score with a slightly better user reception at 3.9. Many critics cited the games heavy reliance on a familiarity with the show as a hindrance to full enjoyment of it but many users praised its bright graphics and crisp visual style.
The game is divided into acts and takes place after the fourth season of the tv series. The hospital is in the middle of a diphtheria outbreak. Described as a single-player action game, Grey’s Anatomy has three primary modes of gameplay: Challenges, Choices, and Surgeries. The first two gameplay types deal with the character’s psychological development and personal life. This is a game based on a popular drama, after all.
Challenges and Choices involve different minigames that task players with things such as Finding Strength, Setting Priorities, Forming Decisions, Digging Deep, Distancing Yourself, Powering Through, Seeking Focus, Matching Rhythm, Building Resolve, and Finding Comfort.
The Surgeries portion of the gameplay places players in the role of a surgeon and doles out linear objectives related to surgery and taking care of the patient, such as checking vital signs, injections, etc. Not quite as robust an experience as Trauma Center, also for Nintendo Wii and DS, but an approach more in-keeping with the series format.
Players who are big fans of the series might find something enjoyable in this game but it is slightly doubtful that anyone outside of that subset would ever find reason to boot up this 2009 cart for the Nintendo DS. The presence of a PC version is impressive given the relative lack of love for PC gaming back in 2009, but it still shouldn’t entice you to get the game unless you want to see what endless medical drama from 2009 with minigames is like. It’s an experience most would rather miss.